Seven Recent Legal Tech Articles Worth Reading

Here are seven articles I’ve read recently that I recommend as worth a look:

Luddite Lawyer’s Guide to Computer Backup Systems. Lawyer Craig Ball, a leading expert in e-discovery and computer forensics, offers this newly updated primer on backup techniques and media. Although written with an eye to discovery, it should be required reading for every legal professional.

UK Alternative Business Structures for Legal Practice: Emerging Models and Lessons for the US. Boston College Law School Prof. Judith A. McMorrow goes deep on non-lawyer ownership of law firms in the UK and the lessons it offers here in the U.S.

Continuous Active Learning in TAR. For e-discovery practitioners, understanding the various types of technology-assisted review can be daunting. In this article, two of the deans of e-discovery, Maura R. Grossman and Gordon V. Cormack, offer a clear and practical explanation of what they say is the superior TAR protocol, Continuous Active Learning. They supplement their article with a model CAL system where you can try it for yourself.

Yellow Flag Fever: Describing Negative Legal Precedent in Citators. Every legal research relies to some extent on citators such as KeyCite in Westlaw, Shepard’s in LexisNexis or Bad Law Bot in Fastcase. But how accurate are they in characterizing a case’s subsequent negative treatment? In this paper, Aaron S. Kirschenfeld, reference and digital initiatives law librarian at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, studies their accuracy and finds their performance lackluster.

Could ‘Uber for Lawyers’ Be a Thing? Albany Law School Prof. Ray Brescia argues that the legal industry is ripe for sharing-economy disruption. “This is an industry that is in the midst of a paradox: tens of millions of Americans are priced out of its services, while, at the same time, there are thousands of underemployed service providers in this industry.”

Language Technologies for Understanding Law, Politics, and Public Policy. In 2014, I was a judge for the ABA Journal’s inaugural Hackcess to Justice hackathon. One of the winners that day was an app called Due Processor, for which one of the developers was William Li, a doctoral student in computer science at MIT. This is Li’s dissertation, in which he examines how machine learning can be used to enhance understanding of publicly available government materials. Specifically, he looks at identifying authorship of unsigned Supreme Court opinions, analyzing the complexity of the U.S. Code, and identifying the trajectories of policy ideas in Congress.

Disrupting Law School: How Disruptive Innovation Will Revolutionize the Legal World. There’s no bigger buzz phrase than disruptive innovation. But if any institutions are ripe for it, it is law schools. In this article, Michele R. Pistone, law professor at Villanova University School of Law, and Michael B. Horn, co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute, look at the disruptive forces challenging law schools and how they should respond.